Written by DJ Chapman
As we head into the holiday season, we are engulfed by the awesomeness of the flood of video games competing with one another for video game supremacy. One of the games debuted in late October — Bayonetta 2, the action hack-and-slash follow-up to the 2009 original.
Developed by Platinum Games (MadWorld, The Wonderful 101, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance), Bayonetta 2 puts us in the heels of (you guessed it) Bayonetta — an Umbran witch who has to fight the forces of good and evil to rescue her sister, Jeanne, from the depths of Inferno. What immediately differentiates Bayonetta 2 from its predecessor is that this game is only available on the Wii U.
As someone who played Bayonetta on Xbox 360, the switch to the Wii U was foreign at first. The Xbox 360 controller is worlds apart from the Wii U Gamepad. After a few hours of using the Gamepad, I quickly switched to the Wii U Pro Controller. Using the Pro Controller gives the game a more streamlined, familiar experience as the control scheme for is very similar to an Xbox 360 controller. Even after owning the Wii U for nearly two years, playing on the Wii U Gamepad sometimes feels too wide, especially for games where pressing buttons with exact precision and timing are essential.
Aside from being on an entirely different kind of console, there is not much difference between the two games in terms of gameplay. The combat system is a combo-based fighter with weapon variations that allow you to punch, kick, slice, stab, and shoot your way to victory. The game (at times) can feel like a button masher, but it rewards you for both being tactical with your combos and using them on the right enemy. For example, the same attack that would take out three big enemies is not the same that would be used to take out a swarm — that special touch is welcome. The game has a tendency to have lot happening at once, but rarely do you feel overwhelmed by the action in this game, even when swarms of enemies are coming your way.
While the gameplay may be smooth, the controls are very counter-intuitive. For instance, one control stick is used to move forward and backwards while the other is used move the camera. This control scheme is normally fine, but when you’re fighting under water it doesn’t quite work. While it is somewhat similar to fighting in the air, the physics completely miss the mark. Combat in the air has a fluid feel; fighting in water feels very rigid, and your only real tactic is to use guns or arrows that do very little damage to the larger underwater enemies. I suppose this is what it would feel like to fight underwater, but in a game that lends itself to the outrageous, I could have gone without accurate underwater fighting physics. Fortunately, these sections are very sparse so it does not have that much of a negative impact on the game.
The graphics are a slight upgrade from the first game. (If this game had come out on Xbox One or PS4 the graphics would have been phenomenal). What’s most enjoyable about the graphics is there isn’t much between the cut scenes and the actual gameplay. The transitions are seamless and wonderful to look at. The cut scenes that tie all of the action together are done very well; many of them have a very cute and whimsical feel to them which adds a lightness the game carries itself with. The game does have its serious moments, and will change the tone accordingly, without missing a beat.
Bayonetta 2 is a must-play for fans of the first game or for fans of action hack-and-slash games in general. This does it as well as the best of them. While nothing about the games majorly stands out, it is nice to see a sequel that succeeds in just doing the same thing again. This is not always desirable in games, but I do sometimes believe the old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” The game adds little touches while taking away nothing that made the first game so enjoyable.
Bayonetta 2 is currently available for the Wii U